Deathbowl To Downtown | Skateboarding in New York City DVD

deathbowl to downtown dvd

To say that I was excited about seeing this DVD is an understatement: I’d been reading about the production for a while on various websites, blogs and magazines, and I was keeping my fingers crossed that it would reach the UK. Luckily for all of us here, the distributors realised they had a gem on their roster and made sure it was available for all.

Skating in New York had a beginning far removed from the Californian image of a long haired surfer guy weaving in and out of crowds on the sidewalk. And, although drawing a parallel might seem like a tenuous link, skating for us here in the UK wasn’t like that either. Cold winters (anyone else remember that dope Zoo York ‘wind chill factor’ advert and the Blueprint ‘we thrive on cold winters’ messaging?) , dirt, traffic, no legal spots… these are things that we shared with the NYC skaters. They had the Brooklyn Banks, we had South Bank: tolerated skating locations, but far from legal until more recent years. They have Supreme, we have Slam City. I could make a million of these connections, but that’s not what this review is really about.

I didn’t need any endorsement or positive reviews to know that this was going to be a real representation of skating in New York City. The role call of who was involved in the production and included in the footage was more than enough validation. Rick Charnoski and Coan Nichols were behind the excellent ‘Fruit Of The Vine’ film back in the late ’90s, which focused on the hunt and uncovering of backyard pools – another worthwhile viewing session, if you can find a copy.

deathbowl to downtown dvd

deathbowl to downtown dvd

So, what’s the film actually like? The main feature (ie. disc one of the double DVD pack) is phenomenal. It takes you from the very start of skating in NYC, from the ’70s and brings you up to around the ’98 or ’99 era. The photos and articles I’d read in Transworld or the Supreme/ Metropolitan/Zoo/Illuminati/Rookie/Shut ads I’d clip from Thrasher were great, but there really wasn’t too much visual material outside of that. Zoo York’s ‘Mix Tape’ or the incredible Eastern Exposure series were my first proper video introductions to what was happening on the East coast, but I knew there was more in the archives somewhere. So, that’s what you get here: the story of skating in NYC, with historical context and plenty of background information.

There’s nothing to question here. From Chloe Sevigny’s role as narrator through to Futura talking about the Soul Artists or Pete Bici, Bobby Puleo and Jefferson Pang on the ’90s Zoo York movement, it’s all totally legit. It was good to see the Sheffey and Coco Santiago shots from the first Shut era in there too: I remember seeing those in the magazines at the time.

deathbowl to downtown dvd

There’s a bonus disc with a whole host of extras – well worth the price alone – but the main feature is where I’ve been hitting rewind again and again. With the passing of Andy Kessler in 2009 and the loss of others such as Harold Hunter, Justin Pierce and Ali, this is a timely tribute to all those who’ve ever put urethane to concrete in New York.

deathbowl to downtown dvd

I suggest you hit up the official website here, and place an order at your favourite online film source. Peep the YouTube trailer below:

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